Laboratory technicians work in many different fields of science and medicine and work to detect, diagnose, and treat diseases in medicine while also researching and developing science and math theories to understand and manage scientific issues. Laboratory technicians are expected to operate, maintain, and install laboratory instruments as well as monitor experiments as they are performed within labs. Technicians are often hired to record observations and then calculate results before developing conclusions, and since these experiments are often needed by other scientists in the field, they must be able to keep accurate and detailed logs of all of their work.
The consistent advances in technology require technicians to stay informed and current on the equipment in their lab and within their field. Technicians should also be prepared to work with various forms of equipment, ranging from potentially hazardous chemicals to radiation, firearms, or body fluids.
There are many different fields for laboratory technicians, and while they all involve general research and technical skills, the chosen specialization can affect the education required. Specializations for laboratory technicians include clinical, agricultural, dental, medical, and scientific subject areas. Laboratory technicians should determine their specialization before pursuing certification, since different licenses for different specializations can have varying requirements. Some employers require a minimum of two years of postsecondary specialized training, while others can require a minimum of a bachelor's or master's degree if the technician is planning on pursuing leadership positions in a laboratory or if the technician is in a field that requires more education.